Bruce Rhoades

Tourists, campers to flood Gladstone region: plan

OUR region might be the fourth most popular spot for caravanners and campers in the state but mobile tourists are spending fewer nights and making fewer trips to the area.

Campers and vanners spent 1,004,247 nights in Central Queensland last financial year.

With caravanners and campers spending an average $152 a night in the region, Central Queensland businesses would have collected about $152 million from mobile tourists last financial year.

This was down 12% on the previous 12 months.

An ARM Newsdesk analysis of Caravan Industry Association of Australia data shows campers and vanners made just 217,509 trips to the area in 2015-16.

This was down 14% on 2014-15 figures.

Despite the slide, Central Queensland was the fourth most popular area to stay in - after the Sunshine Coast, tropical North Queensland and Brisbane.

Gladstone Area Promotion and Development CEO Darryl Branthwaite said GAPDL was rolling out a strategy designed to entice more campers and vanners to the area.

Mr Branthwaite said the plan would also encourage these tourists to spend more time in Gladstone and the surrounding region.

"We'll soon have new signage at the rest stops and camping areas with information about our region," he said.

"We're hoping to have that in place by the end of this year or early next year.

"Also we're promoting the This is Queensland app a lot more too, because there is so much content on that for the travelling public and we find people don't know about it.

"The fact that we've got a lot of people passing through the region, we're putting infrastructure in place - things like dump points for caravans.

"We're also looking at a day park where people can unhitch their vans and explore the region."

Stuart Lamont from the CIAA said vanners and campers were attracted to regions that offered excellent facilities and opportunities to explore.

"Travellers look for outdoor and activity-based experiences as well as the chance to try local produce and dining venues," Mr Lamont said.

"Regions that enjoy great weather and climates are always popular, given the outdoor nature of caravanning and camping, but they also need to be accessible.

"Although active retirees have the time to explore the paths less travelled, families and couples like to access destinations quickly and easily so they enjoy their holiday in the region."

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